Inside the dizzying fall of Kabul to the Taliban (Newlines Magazine)
“‘It’s President Ghani’s fault,’ some said. ‘It’s the Americans’ fault,’ said others. ‘Kabul is gone,’ said everyone. They know that even if a ceasefire was signed and the Taliban put down their weapons and agreed to participate in a government of national unity, the Taliban had gained enough leverage from their military victories to become the de facto masters of the country.” Read more
How Lebanon's economy imploded (The Wall Street Journal)
“In the span of a year and a half, Lebanon went from a middle-income economy to a country in financial free fall. WSJ's Nazih Osseiran explains the cycle of monetary policy, inflation, and government mismanagement that set off one of the worst economic collapses in 150 years.” Listen here
Britain lifts sanctions against Syrian businessman with close ties to Assad family, prompting outcry (The Telegraph)
“The UK government has lifted sanctions from a leading Syrian businessman with close ties to the government of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, prompting an outcry from a leading human rights law firm and a Syrian British organisation, which are calling for him to be relisted.
The Treasury removed Tarif al-Akhras from its sanctions list last week without giving a reason, saying he is ‘no longer subject to an asset freeze.’” Read more
Syria: Residents of Daraa al-Balad struggle to survive under siege (Middle East Eye)
“In Suad al-Hariri's home in Syria's Daraa al-Balad district, supplies, food and money are dwindling fast. It's been 48 days since government forces laid siege to the southern district in the provincial capital of Daraa, leaving residents cut off from basic necessities, such as fuel and electricity, and struggling on a daily basis.” Read more
Clashes in Syria's Daraa: What is the fighting about? (AFP)
“Three years after Syria's government retook control of the flashpoint southern province of Daraa, regime forces have clashed with rebels again, trapping thousands of civilians in the crossfire.
Nearly half of the population of the rebel-held Daraa al-Balad district have fled heavy shelling and ground battles, but the United Nations warns that remaining civilians are cut off with dwindling supplies.” Read more
Lebanon: Akkar explosion highlights fuel smuggling (Daraj)
“The fires that devastated large forested areas in Akkar in the north of Lebanon had not yet been extinguished, when on Sunday morning another fire erupted following the explosion of a fuel tank in the village of Al-Talil, which killed at least 28 people and injured 79 others.
The victims stemmed from among the region’s poorest, who had flocked to the site to obtain some scarce gasoline, and the army supervising distribution.” Read more